An injury riddled 2012-13 season saw the Carolina Hurricanes miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year. The organization finished tied for the fifth worst record in the NHL and struggled mightily to keep the puck out of their own net. Despite their struggles last season, the Hurricanes head into the 2013-14 season with a ‘win now’ mentality.
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The Anaheim Ducks added several key prospects this off-season via drafting and trade. While the Ducks world was shaken by the trade of Bobby Ryan to Ottawa, in return they received two tremendous pieces in Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen. They also added via draft Shea Theodore, Nick Sorensen, and Keaton Thompson. The addition of these talented players has caused a bit of a shuffle in the rankings, not due to poor play or a downgrade of potential, but simply due to an increase of quality players in the system.
After years of late-round drafting, two quick first round playoff exits, and a starting goaltender slow-burn drama, Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced he was hitting the reset button. That reset started in Newark, New Jersey during the 2013 NHL Draft, ushering in a new wave of prospects, a coaching staff change, and a shift in expectations for the fanbase for the 2013-14 season.
Even prior to a wild and unpredictable 2013 off-season, the New Jersey Devils were going to see a lot of competition on their NHL roster from young prospects, most notably on defense, where the organization is deep and skilled. Despite the amount of veteran depth on paper in the organization, several forwards in the system could also fight their way into the NHL lineup.
Following his first season as a pro hockey player, Pittsburgh Penguins defensive prospect Reid McNeill came into the 2013 off-season with the goal of putting himself in as good of a position to succeed as humanly possible. So he took an off-season training route that is increasingly popular among NHL players, namely training with former NHL forward Gary Roberts.
Luca Sbisa, Nino Niederreiter, Sven Baertschi, Mirco Mueller. Since 2008, Switzerland has had more success in the first round of the NHL Draft than Slovakia or the Czech Republic, the two countries that hosted the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and two of the hockey nations generally regarded as being stronger than Switzerland. If this trend continues, the Swiss may well surpass those two nations.
The Los Angeles Kings did not have much time after a conference finals exit at the hands of the Blackhawks to ready themselves for the 2013 NHL Draft. Nonetheless the Kings managed to pick up several quality players, including what was widely considered the steal of the draft in Valentin Zykov.
Canada's relative woes in recent international tournaments have largely been pegged to weaker than usual goaltending. But the tide may be turning for the Canadians, if the 2013 U18 WJC and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament are any indication.
Team Canada forward Jayce Hawryluk may not have produced a great deal of offense at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, but he picked the right game to get himself on the scoresheet.
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